Road-mapping Sessions: Why you need to offer them

By on September 15, 2014

Road-mapping sessions are mini-consultations with your leads that turn them into paying clients by having them pay a nominal fee ($50-200) in exchange for a custom “road map” of what they should do and how you can help them. Offering road-mapping sessions to clients inquiring about your work can you both of you a taste of what it is like to work with the other as well as help your client ease into paying for a higher-cost service of yours. Road-mapping sessions are essential to every freelancer. Here’s why:


Road-mapping Sessions help lay out a plan for both you and the client!

road mapping planning

More often than not, clients usually have a very vague idea of what they want. The starting line I usually get is “We need a website done.”. Ok. What for? Why do you need a website? How do you want it to affect your bottom line? What do you want it to look like? What do you want it to do? What’s your budget? How will you market it? This is more or less the same across the board of creative professions. “I need a logo done” or “We need to pictures of our band, bro. I heard you have a DSLR”. Here’s the thing the clients don’t know the process of producing whatever it is they need. They WANT to be lead and guided along the process, and in the end, they want a kick ass result.

This is why I offer road mapping sessions. During these sessions, I ask super specific questions that help me determine exactly what I need to do for this client and how to do it.

The questions I ask often seem daunting to my leads right off  the bat, and I’m sure it may even be daunting to you.  Offering a road-mapping session assigns a time and place to ask these questions and have them be mentally prepared for it by giving them the opportunity to prepare. In addition to this, there are a lot of other benefits.


Can be used for almost any service

freelancing services

Bask in the Medium Format goodness.

I haven’t come across any profession or service that road-mapping sessions can’t be helpful in. Even more traditional professions have some sort of consultations or meetings before the clients actually hires that professional for a proper service. In example, Lawyers typically start billing for their time after the first 15 minutes. Plastic Surgeons who often give “free consultations” typically don’t spend more than 15-20 minutes with you either, unless they sure you’ll be getting a procedure. Road Mapping Sessions can be used for virtually any service! If you can’t figure out how to apply it to your service, message me, and I’ll help you figure it out!


Provides Authority

guiding clients

As I mentioned earlier, your client want to be guided through the whole process. They want to be in the know of what you’re doing and just how much expertise it takes. A big aspect of this is that it helps them feel better about spending so much money with you. It helps them know exactly where their investment is going! The crazy thing is, when you’re doing this, they start assuming that you’re the expert at a lot more than you actually are!


Provides Value

valuable original content

When you’re just providing a bid, you’re simply giving a price. When you’re delivering a full roadmap of exactly what you’re going to do, how you’re going to do it, and how much you’ll do it for, you’re delivering actual value. Why? Because your client can actually learn critical information from it. You’ve just put down line by line what they were just thinking in their heads!

Another reason a road mapping session is tremendous value is your client can take this information try doing it themselves or hire a third party to do it for them. When I was starting out, I used to put in projects like everyone else, but treat them like road-mapping sessions, putting in a lot of step-by-step instructions on what I would be doing. I had one instance where the prospective client used my bid,and took it to another person to get it done for half the price.

Interestingly enough, ever since I started charging for road mapping sessions, I’ve never had a client take the bid to another vendor! Funny how things work.


Filters out Tire-kickers

filtering out tire kickers

Filters. Get it?

If you’re clients can’t pay $50-200 for a session packed with valuable information, chances are they won’t be spending $1,000+ anytime soon. The biggest benefit of charging for road-mapping is that it filters out prospective clients that are just looking for the same price. I’ve mentioned it many times before; you do not want to be the cheapest option.

Instead, you want to be the most sought after option out there!


Helps ensure high-paying clients

High Paying Clients

Ha. Humor.

This brings us to the fact that since you’re bringing in people who are looking to really improve their business using your services, they’re more likely to invest more as opposed to someone just looking for a quick update of their blog or something along those lines.


Allows for added services

upselling to clients

Customer Acquisition costs often eat up a lot of profit. During my web design road mapping sessions, I also often get hired for photography, just by mentioning that I offer photography as well. For photographers out there that have approached clients before, you know how maddening it is when a client brings up the fact that their “cousin has a DSLR too”. Along with getting me more revenue per client, road mapping sessions, almost every time, take all competition out the window. How’s that for killing two birds with one stone?

What did you think? I really like writing this post, and I’d love to hear your thoughts on it! Do you believe road-mapping sessions will benefit your business somehow?

Adam Rasheed

About Adam Rasheed

Adam is a Web designer and professional photographer based in Corona, CA. He loves drinking chai and watching British comedies.
  • Jon

    Hey Adam! This article was really helpful and explained road-mapping in a new light. Thanks for taking the time to write it out. I’ve read other articles on road-mapping but none have gone as in-depth as your, partially because it’s a paid course on how to road-map but this really explained things clearly and added value.

    Do you have any advice on how to road map as a photographer? I’ve been primarily focusing on marketing consulting but I also want to start doing more photography.

    Also, when presenting the potential client with your road map (the actual step-by-step plan) how do you organize it? Do you have a template you follow?

    Thanks again and keep writing great content like this!